Patty – November 3, 1999

Well, it is yet another 5:30 in the morning wake up call. Thank goodness I sleep soundly before that as yet another day dawns with my list of a million details to handle.

I wanted to take this time to reflect on “paper” as it is all swirling in my mind·

As the planes are falling out of the sky (EgyptAir) and my mother on the phone from Dallas in a solemn voice said “Patty, I haven’t said anything so far·BUT, you will come home if your children want to!” and Ben’s Kindergarten teacher met me at pick-up today and said “Well, we have started the countdown to when you leave for your trip and are NOT coming back this school year” and I am glad to report that now Alex and I are finished with our shots for the trip (Ben and Katie still need a Flu shot). I wake up just thinking ‘I hope we do not board an unlucky plane’ (as Dick and I have done nothing but planned flight after flight piecing each country together) It is like playing Russian Roulette in the sky. Or get really life-threatening sick.

At this point in time, it is like looking at a stormy sky with bits of beautiful clear sky blue (my favorite color in the crayon box). I do have little moments of great excitement and expectation. For all the risk and doing something which is not the “normal” routine, the upside for me personally is the essence of living which is ‘seeing’ the world and connecting and understanding other people with all their differences. My sister wrote me a very sweet note saying that has always been one of my strong suits and travelling gives me that opportunity. At the beginning in my more idealistic state (I am now in the “realistic” state), I felt this trip with our children was our destiny. We had done it 15 years ago and it proved to be everything we had hoped and more. Now, with our children, it has become very complex. I have always taken the raising of our children very seriously. They are little human beings and depending on what experiences are fed into them, hopefully they will turn into whole, content adults with a knowledge of the world around them that helps them make a difference. I hope it turns out to be a positive experience for all.

It is amazing what goes into the planning especially since we are now in the technology age. Laura is always making me sit back and grasp what a feat of organization it is. This is my strong suit but nonetheless I keep thinking of the song “A Partridge in a Pear Tree” – on the 12th day before the trip, my true love said to me· 50 visas to fill out, 250 malaria pills to swallow, 1000 worksheets for the kids to do, 10 varieties of exotic food to eat, 39,000 miles to fly around the world, and a lot of natural beauty to see.

But all said, I know when we are finally packed and the house is clean and we sell our cars and we eat Thanksgiving dinner with the Ferrills and we board a United flight headed to our first stop of Costa Rica· the adventure begins and we are very fortunate to try this “experiment of living” with our children. The best part for me is being with my husband and my children and seeing the world through their eyes· and mine too.